Peter Rich Architects
Total Projects from Peter Rich Architects: 1
An architect of esteemed character and distinguished achievements who is neither a U.S. citizen nor a resident of the United States and who does not primarily practice architecture within the domain of the Institute may be admitted to honorary fellowship.
Through his integrative approach to research, teaching, and community participation, Brian Robert Peter Rich, Hon. FAIA, of Johannesburg is one of the leading proponents of a contemporary African architecture, a fusion of modernism and tradition borne from a deep understanding of African tribal vernacular.
For thirty years, Peter Rich has been rigorously engaged in four key areas of architectural practice: as a researcher, pioneering the documentation of African settlements so others can learn from them; as an activist, bringing what he learns to a wider audience; as a teacher, developing an architectural vocabulary that builds on tradition and empowers successive generations of young architects; and as a practicing architect, giving structure to his discoveries.
In his letter of nomination, Edward Allen, FAIA, remarked upon discovering Peter s work, “His work astonished me. It was so fresh, so open to local and regional influences, so very, very good without being at all fashionable. I saw in his work the sensibilities of an academically-trained architect being employed with great imagination and skill to create highly attractive community facilities for underprivileged populations in South Africa. The architectural quality was stunning and the flexibility of his mind in incorporating native themes, forms, and materials was admirable. Here, I said to myself, is an architect’s architect who is also an architect of the people.”
Peter is acclaimed as an educator of great esteem who has tirelessly spread his knowledge and enthusiasm for indigenous African architecture to an African and worldwide audience. Since 1977 at the University of the Witwatersrand’s Architecture Department in Johannesburg, he has taught architectural theory and design to some of the finest South African architects practicing today, all of whom have valued his particular emphasis on an education based on theory, practice, and tradition. Continuing to engage in debate across Africa, and regularly lecturing in Europe and the United States, he also organizes field trips for invited architects and critics from across the world, generously sharing his passion and knowledge of the rich culture and architecture of Africa.
He is recognized as promoting a truly sustainable African architecture, enthusiastically engaging in long and complex political and consultative processes to ensure that the legacies of the projects last well beyond the building s completion. A community activist during the Apartheid-era and an experienced facilitator, his relationships with communities for whom he has created projects has always been one of both teaching and learning. He has derived unique solutions that have grown out of understanding spatial and formal constructs via extensive drawing, measuring existing buildings, and establishing vibrant rapport with the users and builders within which his architecture is located. Peter believes that a building is a small but important part of a long and organic process. This attitude, which is so relevant to the African context, is in stark contrast to the common Western understanding of a building as a product or commodity with a limited life. Attesting to this thought, Billie Tsien, AIA, and Tod Williams, FAIA, both concurred that, “We are in the midst of the great and terrible results of globalization. The importance of PLACE is so often lost. Peter Rich should be recognized for the value of his contributions. He reminds us that the world is full of richness that we do not know. He teaches us to think in ways that are unfamiliar.”
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